Posted by: unlikelygrad | August 23, 2011

A lull in the action

I’ve had a whole week where research couldn’t get done, thanks to the breakdown of my analytical equipment. (Things could be worse: Dr. J’s research group has had most work grind completely to a halt, because their ICP-AES has been out for over a month.)

While I’ve been a bit frustrated by the apparent lack of progress, the downtime has been good for me. Dr. Hand-Waver asked me to sit down and look at all my data from the last few months, so I could decide what I wanted to put in my presentation for ACS.

It’s been an interesting exercise. I generally try to quantify two things, Thing X and Thing Y. My numbers for both X & Y are generally pretty consistent (within ~10%, which is fabulous for anything involving microbes), except…when they’re not. Sometimes, they’re completely off…like 95% off. But all of these “off” figures are consistent with each other (again, within ~10% of each other). So clearly something’s going on that I don’t understand.

Now I’m tossing around ideas about what could cause my microbes to go from State A, in which they have high levels of Thing X and Thing Y, to State B, in which they have very low levels of Thing X and slightly low levels of Thing Y. Do they sometimes die prematurely? Or are they just overcrowded in some cases? Etc. etc.

Sadly, I won’t have time to figure this out before my presentation, even though the equipment is finally up and running again.

And BTW…is anyone else from the blogosphere going to ACS? It would be kinda fun to meet people.



  1. Wish I were going to ACS–never been to one! Have fun!!

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